There are many opportunities for international students to volunteer in Australia. Whether it’s through a charity, not-for-profit organisation, community-based organisation or your education provider, you will be able to find something that interests you.
Not only will the community benefit from your contribution but, as a volunteer, you’ll also reap many personal and professional benefits, such as learning a new skill, connecting with a mentor, and improving your confidence. In short, volunteering is one of the best ways to improve your employability as an international student in Australia. Below, we list some of the top benefits of volunteering - read on to discover them for yourself.
Volunteering expands your network
Volunteering connects you with individuals who share similar interests. Forming these connections is especially useful in a new country where you likely don’t know many people. It is also a great way to meet potential employers and industry experts in a casual and friendly setting. These people could eventually become references, colleagues, mentors or business partners. With a larger network, you’ll gain new insights and learn about rich employment opportunities you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
Volunteering helps you practise and develop your skills
When you volunteer, you’ll have the opportunity to enhance your existing skills and develop new ones in a practical setting. Many of the skills that you refine and gain through volunteer work are highly transferable, meaning you can apply them in a professional setting as well. Some of the most highly transferable skills that you’ll gain through volunteering include time management, leadership, communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills. You can then add these skills to your resume, which we’ll explore more in the following section.
Volunteering strengthens your resume
Oftentimes, employers will require candidates to have a certain level of work experience to apply for a position. Volunteering is an excellent way to add this practical experience to your CV. By including your volunteering experience on your resume, you’ll show potential employers that you know how to work well with others in a real-world setting. This will ensure that you stand out to the hiring committee as a passionate, well-rounded applicant.
Volunteering helps you determine what kind of job you want
By volunteering, you’ll gain hands-on work experience and therefore an opportunity to find out what interests you. If you have an idea of the industry you’d like to work in, aim to get a volunteer position in the sector. In doing so, you’ll get a feel of the industry, which will then allow you to decide if it is the right fit for you.
On the other hand, if you’re not sure what kind of job you want, volunteering in different fields can help you figure it out. Immersing yourself in various sectors is an extremely efficient way to determine what you do and don’t like.
Volunteering builds your confidence
Living in a new country surrounded by people you don’t know can be daunting - that’s why it’s so important to build your confidence. Volunteering is a fantastic outlet to become more confident. Contributing to your local community will undoubtedly give you a sense of accomplishment. In turn, you’ll experience a higher degree of self-esteem and assurance.
Additionally, engaging in your Australian community can familiarise you with Australian culture. By getting to know the culture in which you now live, it will seem less foreign and overwhelming.
A higher level of confidence will be invaluable when it comes to entering the workforce. Hiring managers will pick up on your self-assuredness in interviews and employers will likely feel more confident entrusting you with important tasks.
Volunteering keeps your mind happy
Volunteering enables you to positively impact other people’s lives and make a valuable contribution to society. But did you know that volunteering can have a hugely positive effect on your own wellbeing, too?
According to Volunteering Australia, the act of volunteering has been linked to greater self-perceived psychological wellness, happiness, and satisfaction with life. People who volunteer also tend to report lower symptoms of depression and anxiety, and fewer indicators of suicide risk.
By maintaining your mental health, you’ll feel better prepared to tackle the everyday challenges of the working world. Better mental wellness can also lead to increased productivity and motivation, and lower levels of absenteeism.
Start your volunteering journey today
Learn more about volunteering via Study Melbourne and discover local opportunities via Volunteering Victoria. On its For Volunteers page, you can even read firsthand accounts from volunteers about their enriching experiences.
Study Melbourne Empowered Series
The Empowered Series offers a suite of employability programs – co-designed by students, for students – which are now accessible for all international students studying with a Victorian education provider, in Melbourne, regional and rural Victoria or offshore. Learn more.